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When loved ones are away

A mother duck led her fledglings across the lawn. My friend and I gasped as the duck unswervingly approached a two-lane drive, thick with commuter traffic. From our lookout two stories up it appeared we could do nothing to prevent imminent disaster.

I turned away from the scene in front of me. Although I couldn't get to the ducks in time to help them, I could rely on God, who provides for every need always. I spent several moments praying silently to recognize God's complete control.

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When I looked down again, I saw that someone had discovered the plight of the ducks and was in the middle of the busy street conducting traffic. The ducks made their way safely across the road and continued their journey. Giving a prayer of thanks, I mentally acknowledged that God's care is made manifest in whatever way needed.

In thinking about our loved ones who are away from home, perhaps we feel somewhat as I did when I first saw those ducks. We may anxiously wonder, Will they take proper care of themselves? Avoid unsuitable companions and activities? Make wise decisions? And if we know they're in trouble, it may seem we're helpless to do anything from a distance. But there's a great deal we can do to benefit those closest to us.

First we can relinquish our fears for them. Realizing that God constantly cares for His offspring will help free us from a fearful, personal sense of responsibility. Sometimes we must be insistent in our refusal to let fear dominate us.

After overcoming fear we are ready to identify our loved ones correctly. ''That's easy,'' you say. ''He's my child; he has brown hair, green eyes . . . , and what does this identification have to do with protecting him from harm?'' A physical identification of someone can do nothing to shield him from the elements of the physical world. But spiritual identification enables us to see all, including those dearest to us, as completely protected from harm.

We have Biblical authority for regarding man as wholly spiritual. We are told that ''God created man in his own image.''n1 And Christ Jesus taught that ''God is a Spirit.''n2 If God is Spirit and man is His image, your loved one - and every individual - is in reality spiritual. Being spiritual, he is not the pawn of material forces, nor is he under the jurisdiction of so-called physical laws. Instead he is governed solely by God and is under the supremacy of divine law. ''Truth not error, Love not hate, Spirit not matter, governs man,''n3 writes Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.

n1 Genesis 1:27.

n2 John 4:24.

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n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, P. 420.

So we don't need to be physically present with another in order to help him. By rightly identifying him in prayer we are bringing to bear on the human situation the spiritual - and only - facts of his being.

Once we have dealt with fear and correctly identified those we love, we are prepared to be active witnesses to God's ever-presence. We can rejoice that the eternal Christ, God's healing, saving power, is working in human consciousness, providing guidance, protection, and intelligence under all circumstances. We can also be certain that because God is infinite good and the only genuine power, evil, whether in the guise of bad companions, accident, bad habits, or weaknesses, has in truth no power to pull man off the right track or out of God's presence.

Finally, we can rest in the certainty that those near us are actually being cared for in the way that is best for them wherever they are. We can move ahead with whatever we need to be doing - unafraid. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust. Psalms 40:4

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